Gordon Ryan has established himself as the best no gi grappler on the planet over the last few years and he hasn’t tasted defeat since 2018, or been submitted since the only time in his entire professional career back in 2016. Ryan is fast approaching a hundred professional grappling matches and has only lost a total of five matches in that time, to four different competitors. He first lost on points to Aaron ‘Tex’ Johnson back in 2016 but has managed to submit him twice since then and clearly gained the upper hand in their rivalry.
The only person to submit him, Felipe Pena, is also the only person to defeat him twice and the pair haven’t fought since the last of those two matches in 2017. Leandro Lo also managed to defeat Ryan on points at an ADCC trials event in 2017 and Vinny Magalhaes was the last person to defeat him; with both of those losses coming by way of points and also being the only times he’s stepped on the mats against those men.
Since he became an ADCC world champion in both his weightclass and the absolute division in 2019, Ryan has looked completely unbeatable. He takes on a whole host of challenges at once at ADCC 2022 however as Ryan will be entering both his weightclass and the superfight at the event, being the first in history to do so. In this article we’ll look at three challenges that will potentially come to Gordon Ryan at ADCC 2022 and assess how likely they are to defeat him:
Who Can Defeat Gordon Ryan at ADCC 2022?
The rivalry between Galvao and Ryan has heated up way past boiling point in the last year or so and even spilled over into a public physical altercation too. Galvao has been an unstoppable force under ADCC rules since he became double champion and has remained the superfight champion ever since he took the title from Braulio Estima in 2013. It’s these phenomenal achievements that have earned Galvao a place in the ADCC Hall of Fame and he even managed to turn back Felipe Pena in his last title defense. The elephants in the room here are age and activity however, as Galvao will be just over 40 years-old at the time of ADCC 2022 and has only had one grappling match since the end of 2017.
Chance of Victory: 20%
It’s hard to bet against Gordon Ryan in the 2022 ADCC superfight championship match and the odds reflect this, with him being the favorite to defeat Galvao in their match. You can’t count Galvao out completely because the fact is that he remains one of the greatest competitors in the ADCC history and he genuinely does have the perfect style to win matches under that ruleset. The likelihood is that Ryan comes away with the win here though with the advantages that come with youth and regular competition.
Rodriguez is the dark horse to defeat Gordon Ryan at ADCC 2022, and has likely already been counted out by many fans. The naysayers won’t change the fact that Rodriguez, like Galvao, has a style that is built for success on the ADCC mats and unless you’re capable of submitting him, he’s almost certainly going to win by decision or points. He is phenomenal athleticism on his side and has been a training partner of Ryan’s for years, so should really know his game inside and out. It’s worth noting though that the opposite is true as well, and Ryan should know everything there is know about Rodriguez too.
Chance of Victory: 30%
Rodriguez will present a very tough challenge for Ryan, just as he has done for other ADCC world champions like Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu, Orlando Sanchez, and Yuri Simoes before. Rodriguez is keen to test himself against Ryan on the competitive mats and although Ryan will still have the edge against him in terms of skill, there’s a foreseeable path to victory available to him. While not the most likely outcome, it’s possible that Rodriguez uses his wrestling advantage to stay standing, his athleticism to stay safe, and his tactical acumen to win the match by decision or points.
As discussed, Pena remains the only person to defeat Gordon Ryan twice and he currently holds a perfect 2-0 record over the reigning ADCC double champion. While this might seem as though he holds the advantage on paper, the pair also haven’t fought for around five years. Ryan has developed leaps and bounds in that space of time and is almost an entirely different grappler now than he was then. The pair do have a fierce rivalry though and it seems as though both men are eager to compete against each other for the third time. Pena even went so far as to move up to the +99kg weightclass at ADCC 2022 in order to increase his chances of coming up against Ryan and handing him another loss.
Chance of Victory: 50%
Pena hasn’t been as unbeatable as Ryan in recent years and it’s entirely possible that Ryan has improved so much that he’s surpassed him. The old adage goes that ‘styles make fights’ however, and it’s also possible that Pena simply has the answer to Ryan and will forever remain his biggest challenge. The chances for this one really are up in the air and it’s impossible to predict a clear winner in the event they meet.
All in all, Gordon Ryan is still the favorite to win the +99kg weightclass and to defeat Galvao to take home the superfight championship too. What’s interesting about ADCC 2022 however is that Ryan will likely face two or three of the greatest challenges he’s ever had to his throne on the same weekend. There’s a fair chance then that at least one of the three men we’ve discussed, or even any other member of the +99kg weightclass ends up winning against Gordon Ryan. If Ryan comes out of the event unscathed with five more victories and two more ADCC titles to his name, he will solidify his place as the greatest no gi grappler on the planet for a long time to come.
The 2022 ADCC World Championships will be streamed live on FloGrappling and the world will find out if any of the above men can defeat Gordon Ryan, click here to subscribe and find out the answer.